Health inequalities and minority stress – Richard Bränström's research group

Health inequalities and minority stress – How can biopsychosocial models and theories help us understand the increased health risks of stigmatized populations? What psychological and social factors can explain lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals’ disproportionate experiences with poor mental health?


Health inequalities and minority stress

The overarching goal of the research in our group is to generate greater knowledge concerning factors influencing the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, and to develop easily disseminated interventions to improve resilience in these groups. In this research, we try to identify psychological social, and biological determinants of health and health-related behaviors, and to study the effects of internet-based psychological treatments.

During the past several years, our main focus has been on studies of how psychological, social, biological, and contextual factors influence the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals. Richard Bränström’s research group is influenced by an intersectional perspective and applies theories and methods from a number of research fields such as psychology, public health sciences, and social-epidemiology to understand the effect of stigma and discrimination on inequalities in health.

In the research group a number of studies are ongoing testing the efficacy of internet-based psychological interventions to increase resilience and decrease psychological distress both among different patient groups, and among sexual minority adolescents and young adults.

Research themes

  • Psychological, social, biological, and contextual determinants of health in LGBT-populations
  • The effects of LGBT-affirmative psychological interventions on mental health outcomes
  • Stress-reduction interventions in populations at increased risk of poor mental health
  • Biopsychosocial models to promote health behavior change and prevention

Research grants

The research is supported by grants from: The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Wellfare (Forte), and US National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

Public communication of science


Unga hbtq-personers hälsa och livsvillkor - Frukostseminarium arrangerat av Forskningsrådet för hälsa, arbetsliv och välfärd (Forte)

The Mental Health and Wellbeing of LGBT Individuals in Sweden - Open seminar: International Day Against Homophobia, transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) organized by the Karolinska Institutet

Selected publications

Bränström, R., Fellman, D., & Pachankis, J. (2022). Structural stigma and sexual minority victimization across 28 countries: the moderating role of gender, gender nonconformity, and socioeconomic status. Journal of interpersonal violence, 08862605221108087.

Bränström R, Fellman D, Pachankis JE. Age-varying sexual orientation disparities in mental health, treatment utilization, and social stress: A population-based study. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. 2022.

Pachankis, J. E., Harkness, A., Maciejewski, K.R., Behari, K., Clark, K. A., McConocha, E., Winston, R., Adeyinka, O., Reynolds, J., Bränström, R., Esserman, D. A., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Safren, S. A. (2022). LGBQ-affirmative cognitive-behavioral therapy for young gay and bisexual men’s mental and sexual health: A three-arm randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Bränström R, Stormbom I, Bergendal M, Pachankis JE. Transgender-based disparities in suicidality: A population-based study of key predictions from four theoretical models. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2022 Jan 23. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12830. Epub ahead of print.

Pachankis JE, Hatzenbuehler ML, Bränström R, Schmidt AJ, Berg RC, Jonas K, Pitoňák M, Baros S, Weatherburn P. Structural stigma and sexual minority men's depression and suicidality: A multilevel examination of mechanisms and mobility across 48 countries. J Abnormal Psychology, 2021 Oct;130(7):713-726.

Bränström R, Pachankis JE. Reduction in Mental Health Treatment Utilization Among Transgender Individuals After Gender-Affirming Surgeries: A Total Population Study. Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2019 Oct 4:appi-jp [Epub ahead of print].

Bränström R, van der Star A, Pachankis JE. Untethered lives: barriers to societal integration as predictors of the sexual orientation disparity in suicidality. Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2019 Jul 12.

Bränström R, Hatzenbuehler ML, Tinghög P, Pachankis JE. Sexual orientation differences in outpatient psychiatric treatment and antidepressant usage: evidence from a population-based study of siblings. European Journal of Epidemiology 2018 Jun; 33(6): 591-599.

Pachankis JE., Bränström R. Hidden from Happiness: Structural Stigma, Sexual Orientation Concealment, and Life Satisfaction across 28 Countries. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2018 May;86(5):403-415.

Hatzenbuehler ML, Bränström R, Pachankis JE. Societal-level explanations for reductions in sexual orientation mental health disparities: Results from a ten-year, population-based study in Sweden. Stigma and Health. 2018 Vol 3(1), Feb 2018, 16-26.

Bränström R, Pachankis JE. Sexual orientation disparities in the co-occurrence of substance use and psychological distress: a national population-based study (2008-2015). Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2018 Apr;53(4):403-412.

Bränström R. Minority stress factors as mediators of sexual orientation disparities in treatment for mental health diagnoses: a longitudinal population-based study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2017 May;71(5):446-452.

See Richard Bränström's personal page for a full list of publications.


Selected publications

Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group